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Understanding the Open Meeting Act

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Homeowners' Associations

The Open Meeting Act, which is often referred to as The Sunshine Law, aims to increase transparency and accountability in governing organizations. It mandates that all homeowner association meetings, including annual and board meetings, must be open to all participants.

Unit owners have the right to express their opinions on matters that concern the association or the common interest community during meetings. Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) in New York must comply with the Open Meeting Act, which penalizes those who violate it and promotes transparency and communication. This encourages residents to participate more actively in community affairs and to become more informed about regional issues.

HOA executive sessions are permitted

An HOA’s board meetings are often separated into two sections: an open session and a private session. HOA members are welcome to attend the open session and participate in a public forum as well as conversations with the board. Only the HOA board members have access to the closed session, also referred to as an executive session. These meetings occur before or after open board meetings, and the HOA manager may be present on occasion.

The HOA board doesn’t need to invite everyone to these gatherings. Private executive meetings typically entail talking about delicate subjects including unpaid bills, tenant issues and legal issues. Any confidentiality violation resulting from these discussions might become troublesome because these subjects are sensitive.

Must HOAs comply with The Open Meeting Act?

Yes, HOAs are required to abide by the Open Meeting Act. The law encourages transparency, dialogue and citizen involvement in neighborhood issues. Infractions that are brought to their knowledge are likewise subject to sanctions.

The Open Meeting Act is nuanced, and HOAs may understandably benefit from guidance related to their obligations. As a result, being proactive about seeking personalized feedback is generally wise.